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Title: Vocation to witness : insights from a research study on ordained vocation in the Church of England
Author: Keith, Elisabeth Grace
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 5014
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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In 2005 the Church of England explicitly identified mission and evangelism as part of ordained vocation. This marked a shift in the church’s espoused theology recognising clergy as leaders of mission as well as engaging in sacramental ministry, teaching, and pastoral care. However, the difference between the importance placed on mission, and evidence from clergy studies, raise questions as to how mission and evangelism is perceived, and how this in turn affects ministerial practice. To address these questions a cycle of theological reflection was employed utilising constructivist grounded theory methods, in which the selection documents of clergy ordained in 2009 were analysed alongside interviews with clergy on their perceptions of vocation and ministry six years after ordination. The study found that operant theologies of vocation appeared resistant to the increasing importance of mission within the Church of England’s understanding of vocation, with up to a third of participants viewing mission as optional rather than central to vocation. In addition, the study showed deficiencies within the selection process in assessing candidates’ vocation and competency in this area. Furthermore, evidence suggested that those candidates’ lacking experience and motivation to engage in mission at selection did not take advantage of options available during training to engage in mission practice and six years after ordination had not integrated mission in to their personal sense of vocation. In contrast candidates excelling at mission and evangelism at selection used the options available within training to develop further in this area and went on to lead growing churches often developing fresh expressions of church. The thesis argues from normative understandings of ordained vocation as expressed in the ordinal, and from renewed understandings of the diaconate, to offer recommendations for a revision of selection and training which place the vocation to witness at the heart of ordained vocation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Th.M.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available